Brothers and sisters,
Greetings… Praise God for the opportunity to present a report of my work to you again.
This month we pretty much settled in our meeting place and used it regularly. In thinking over this month there is a lot to thank God for. My personal spiritual condition this month was about the same as last months, fairly stable, as was my family. A special need is prayer for the conversion of my son. Though he can recite verses and pray by himself, yet he is not a true Christian. My wife and I continually share the gospel with him and try to help him realize his own sin. But in the end we need God’s intervention. So please pray for my wife and I that would be further established in our faith so we can persevere in this effort. Also, please continue to pray for me personally. I have been dealing with a personal struggle with anger. So please pray that God would give me more grace that I would continually fight this sin.
God knows my needs of this past half year or so. The second week of this month I prepared for a Reformed Baptist Pastor’s Conference. This conference gave me a few days to retire (get away from work) and be quiet. I received a lot of help and encouragement through the sessions in this meeting. There was an expansion upon what a Biblically healthy church should be like, how to plant a church, and what to pay attention to in this process. This will help me when facing the ministry I am in currently. Also, in this meeting, I had many deep conversations with pastors of other churches. We shared about our personal spiritual conditions, difficulties we ran into in ministry, and discussed how we should respond and deal with them. These discussions not only were a reminder to myself, but also were great for accumulating advice from other’s experiences.
For maintaining my personal growth, first: I have maintained devotions, prayer, and spiritual readings; second: I occasionally shared my heart with my “teacher” or other mature pastors. They will give guidance to my situation and provide accountability. This ensures that while I am shepherding others, I myself am also being shepherded. Also, it ensures that I am being held accountable and receiving much needed guidance.
This month I preached three Lord’s Days. The content is still on Mark. We are now in chapter 5. Two Thursday evenings I led everyone in studying the Confession. And another Thursday evening I led a book study. We are now studying Al Martin’s “What is a Biblical Christian?” This book is quite short, only about 20 pages. The purpose for studying this is for everyone to better understand the gospel and what a true Christian is like. Based on their comments it is clear that everyone’s understanding of the gospel is clearer and clearer. And everyone is starting to apply the gospel to their lives and are searching themselves to see if they really are true believers. Seeing this has encouraged me to continue in these book studies, to choose good books for myself and the brethren to read, so that we can all grow together.
This month, once a week I went out in the evenings to carry out oversight of the brothers and sisters. In dealing with a new attendee (a sister), I realized that her view of the gospel was not clear, it had some errors. So I took the opportunity to share the gospel with her and gave her a copy of “What is a Biblical Christian?” to read so that next time I meet with her we can discuss it’s contents. In college, this sister had participated in some ministry in the Christian group on campus. She also grew up in Sunday school. Yet her understanding of the gospel was so confused. This made me realized that regardless of who comes among us, we need to preach the gospel to them.
On Sunday afternoons this month (from 1:30-2:30), we read a book together and then begin our prayer meeting. The book we are reading now is an abridgment of Mark Dever’s “Nine Marks of a Healthy Church”. The biggest blessing for us from this book is that the brethren are better understanding what elements a healthy church must have. They also better understand what our church in the future should look like, and so can strive towards that end.
I invited several brothers and sisters over to my house to eat this month. And had some time to talk with them. Among them was a brother who had a question to discuss and I was very thankful for our conversation. This brother was in a car accident when young and lost his right leg. According to Chinese traffic laws, someone without a right leg cannot get a regular C2 divers license (a regular car license) but can only get a F license (Handicapped license). But because this brother was so adapt to his prosthetic, the inspecting doctor (Translator note: these doctors only test color blindness and make you walk across the room once, therefore would not notice something like this) at his license testing did not even realize he was missing his right leg and so he received a C license. Before, this brother never struggled with whether this was fine or not. However, after coming to our group, he heard me emphasize how Christians need to be good citizens and obey the law. Then he began to struggle. This time he came to our home he shared this with me and asked what he should do. I was quite moved when he shared this with me and saw God is using my labors to gradually change people’s hearts so that they are more and more willing to obey His law. This also encouraged me to continue to faithfully serve here and send God’s Word forth. I also saw the power of God’s Word, it’s influence in our midst, and how it continually reminds us of what we are to do.